September 25, 2015

UPDATE: Sheriff’s Department gets $1.5 million to combat human trafficking

9-25-15 California:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was awarded a $1.5 million grant to aid the agency in its efforts to combat human trafficking in Los Angeles County, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

The money will help the Sheriff’s Department form a multi-agency task force with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal law enforcement agencies that would “investigate high-priority trafficking crimes — particularly the sex trafficking of minors,” according to a Justice Department news release.

The money awarded was a part of a $44 million federal grant that was given to 16 law enforcement agencies around the country.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement that the department needs such a task force because it gives the agency the ability to rescue and address the needs of victims, investigate and punish criminals and prevent human trafficking crimes in the future.

“As those who commit this horrible crime and prey on trafficking victims become more sophisticated, we must work together to find new and comprehensive strategies,” McDonnell said. “If we are to truly make a difference in combatting human trafficking, we must do more than simply prosecute the wrong-doers.”

Thursday’s announcement received praised from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

“I’m confident that L.A. County and Sheriff McDonnell can use these funds effectively to combat sex trafficking,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Sheriff McDonnell has a great team in place and is prepared to launch an aggressive task force to arrest and prosecute those who engage in the inhuman trafficking of young girls.

“Sex trafficking must be stopped and Los Angeles has the team to do it,” Feinstein said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department already operates its Human Exploitation and Trafficking Team, which operates investigations and sting operations throughout the county. That department is in the process of adding more than 50 personnel to its current staff, according to a news release. ..Source.. by Jonathan Smith

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